If you have, for some reason, been hankering for a smartbook, you may be a little disappointed. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs stated during a company event today that tablets have most likely killed the nascent smartbook market. With Qualcomm being one of the most ardent supporters of the smartbook concept, there's little hope for the category to continue.
The HP Airlife was the only device to be marketed as a smartbook. This Android-based device never really found its audience when it was released earlier this year. Still, Qualcomm will continue to make faster mobile chips, they're just more likely to be seen in tablets and smartphones than in light-weight computers.
If smartbooks had materialized sooner, they may have had a shot. But in the wake of the iPad, it's not hard to see how it ended up this way. Were you interested in the smartbook category? What will you do now?
Samsung on Tuesday introduced its new dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9-based processor designed for mobile applications. If all goes to plan, you'll soon seen this spunky chip in a variety of devices, including tablets, netbooks, and even smartphones.
"Consumers are demanding the full web experience without compromise while on the go," said Dojun Rhee, vice president of Marketing, System LSI Division, Samsung Electronics. "Given this trend, mobile device designers need an application processor platform that delivers superb multimedia performance, fast CPU processing speed, and abundant memory bandwidth. Samsung's newest dual core application processor chip is designed specifically to fulfill such stringent performance requirements while maintaining long battery life."
Built on a 45nm manufacturing process, the Orion processor, as it's being called, comes with two cores clocked at 1GHz, each with 32KB data cache and a 32KB instruction cache. There's also 1MB of L2 cache to help speed things up, Samsung says.
Interestingly, Orion also comes with an onboard native triple display controller architecture, so that a device equipped with this chip could support two on-device display screens and still have the chops to drive a third external display, like a TV or monitor via on-chip HDMI.
Select customers will get their hands on the new chip in the fourth quarter of 2010, with mass production to follow in the first half of 2011.
The future of smartphones is looking bright, at least if you use these devices for more than just making calls. While today's top-end units sport 1GHz Snapdragon and Hummingbird processors, LG is stepping up the smartphone game by readying new models built around Nvidia's dual-core Tegra 2 platform.
Let that sink in for a moment. We're talking about smartphones with two processing cores as well as an ultra low-power Nvidia GeForce GPU.
"Taking full advantage of the two speedy 1GHz processors sharing the workload in Tegra 2, consumers can experience up to 2x faster web browsing and up to 5x faster gaming performance over single core processors running at 1GHz," LG says (PDF).
LG didn't mention how much these next-gen units will cost, but did say they'll be part of its Optimus series and ship in the fourth quarter.
Philips Home Control's new DUAL QWERTY remote seems like the kind of thing you'd use to show off your hard-earned success when you have visitors, or maybe you just want something sexy to replace that boring remote, mouse, and keyboard you've been using to control your home theater.
"This new keyboard remote shows that we are on top of the upcoming trend," says Rick Siu, Director Product Management, Philips Home Control. "It was challenging to develop this remote to cater for all these features, while at the same time we wanted the design to be slim, easy to operate, and modern looking. From the enormous interest we have gathered during the pre-launch period, I can honestly say we succeeded with glory."
Sure, Siu is tooting his own company's horn, but from the pics we've seen, the DUAL certainly looks hot. How well it feels and functions is another story, but Philips feels its dual-sided device is the "perfect solution" for couch warriors. The top side features a remote control while the bottom sports a keyboard; alternate input methods include things like pointing, touchpad, and an optical sensor.
Verizon announced today that the Samsung Fascinate Android phone will be available on September 9 for $199 on contract, after rebate. Good news if you're in the market for an Android device on Big Red, but it looks like this device is a victim of carrier modification making it much less desirable. Early reviews have noted a number of strange decisions in the phone's software.
Verizon's Galaxy S phone has Bing as the default search provider. That means the home screen widget and the front search button will search Bing, not Google. No problem, you can change that, right? Well, no actually. You're stuck with Bing. Then the bundled VZ Navigator is set at the default navigation app for every UI action that should call up Google Navigation. Users can change this, but it requires some tweaking in settings to get Google Navigation back.
With a Galaxy S on every carrier now, it's hard to see the Fascinate as a viable option. Those on Verizon may be interested, but the carrier is likely to push their Droid line of phones harder as we move into the shopping season. Are these changes more than you'd put up with?
Acer split the difference between HP and Sony and Lenovo, tapping Intel’s Core i5 for the Aspire AZ5700-U2112. That design decision helped the Aspire Z5700 win three of the four benchmark competitions.
The next time someone asks about that bulge coming from your khakis, you can confidently respond, "Why yes, yes that is a supercomputer in my pocket, and I am happy to see you."
You'll be telling the truth if you install MIT's new software designed to perform complex simulations on mobile phones. The software simulates physical phenomena, such has how cracks form in building materials and how fluids flow in irregular channels, crunching the numbers in seconds that would typically take a supercomputer hours to calculate.
As the eggheads at MIT explain it, the software is designed for situations where the general form of a problem is already known in advance, just not the details.
"This is a very relevant situation," says David Knezevic, a postdoc in the department who helped lead the project. "Often in engineering contexts, you know a priori that your problem is parametrized, but you don't know until you get into the field what parameters you're interested in."
MIT News has a whole bunch more on the topic right here.
With all the hoopla surrounding tablets, it's easy to forget that there's still a market out there for netbooks. Samsung hasn't forgotten, which is readying the N350, a new netbook with dual-mode LTE and HSPA+ built-in.
Aside from the 4G connectivity, this new netbook sports mostly familiar specs, albeit around Intel's recently released Atom N550 platform. The N350 ships with a 10.1-inch screen, 1GB of DDR3 memory, a 250GB hard drive spinning at 5400RPM, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, memory card reader, USB 2.0 ports, and Windows 7 Starter edition.
German website Mini-Notebook-Laptop.com has the N350 shipping commercially this Fall for 429 Euros, or about $550 in American greenbacks.
Nokia leads the world in cell phone shipments, but they're not the first manufacturer that comes to mind when shopping smartphones. Companies like Apple, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung stand in the smartphone lime light, and Nokia would like nothing more than to join them.
Towards that end, Nokia is gearing up to introduce several new smartphones next week, according to a Reuters report. Among the new models will be the E7, Nokia's new flagship smartphone with a fairly large touchscreen and hardware keyboard.
Another new model slated for release is the N8, the first phone to sport the Symbian 3 platform.
"As the N8 starts shipping and other devices are unveiled, Nokia will be hoping that it can lay the foundation stones for its recovery given the onslaught of competitive products currently hitting the market," said Ben Wood, director of research at CSS Insight. "It has made some big commitments on fixing Symbian and its first flagship product using the refreshed Symbian operating system. Failure is not an option.
Part of the challenge for Nokia will be in convincing developers to create apps for the Symbian platform, which so far hasn't been as easy as one might imagine considering Symbian's dominating mobile phone market share.
Apple's new iPod touch isn't capable of making phone calls, though if you hit up the "More Features" section of the device's product page, you might be led to believe otherwise. Why? Because Apple sucks at Photoshop.
That seems to be the most reasonable explanation as to why promotional images of the fourth-gen iPod touch show a phone function in the lower left corner, just like the iPhone. Furthermore, Apple replaced the iPod icon with a Music icon in the new iPod touch, though the promo shots show otherwise.
What most likely happened is someone at Apple got lazy and Photochopped a pic of an iPhone screen onto an iPod touch body, thus qualifying Apple for another ticket on the Fail Boat, right behind Microsoft's Photoshop team.
Well that was fast. A refresh of the product page shows someone at Apple knows how to wield a Photoshop brush, after all.